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Diamonds x Pearls

Tonight's discussion is going to be based off some observations I saw over this past month.

 

Earlier, after several days of changing my water, it appeared I may have cleaned it up a little too well. I suspected this from a potential strand of dinoflagellates hanging about the big devil hand. It could may very well be air bubbles getting trapped through the powerheads and filter box. I didn't think it was my equipment, so I went ahead and decided to treat with Dino X. I ordered some Dr. Tim's products as a back up in case the ammonium compounds didn't work. I suspect that Dino X just adds ammonia to your water in small amounts so that spurs some nitrates coming into your system. This could be very well confounded by me feeding my fish and corals. I didn't supplement my tank with Fuel or even reef building compounds. You probably noticed that my Ca, Mg, and Alk numbers dipped. I wasn't doing my daily 1mL dose during the 2 weeks of treating the tank. Dino X felt inconclusive. I wanted to believe it work but part of me still thought it didn't. If anyone you know has dinoflagellate problems I'll be happy to mail my Dino X so no one needs to pay for a medicine...maybe just shipping.

 

I reasoned if we did scale back dino numbers there leaves a vacuum in the species density of all microbial life. Nature doesn't do vacuums well so on three separate days I added a small dose of three products. At the water change after Dino X treatment, I half-dosed Eco-Balance. The next day I half-dose Waste-Away. The water was incredibly cloudy one Sunday but it quickly cleared up as the day went by. After a few days I added another half-dose of Waste-Away and it got me cyanobacteria earlier this week. Phosphates appeared higher than I wanted so I resumed PhosGuard use.

 

Fortunately, Dr. Tim's uses the same materials for cyano and algal outbreaks. I didn't have much of an outbreak but just half-dollar size stain on my filter intake tube. There always was a standing colony on my lobophytum but I didn't care about it since it retained the same size hence standing. But this time I did notice that there was a maroon slime on my mango zoas. I followed this "recipe":

DrTims_Treat_Cyano_Recipe_6Apr18.png

It seems worth a shot. It seems likely that the Re-Fresh outcompetes or consumes cyanobacteria. I opened the bottle from the foil seal and used a syringe to dose. The liquid was purple and I was immediately reminded of the PNSB solution from AlgaeBarn without the egg smell. I know purple nonsulfur bacteria has some use in biorefinery as it is able to remove nitrogen and even heavy metals from a system. Sure enough after 2 full doses the cyano was beat back some.

 

I made a test to see some effectiveness:

80.4F (I got a digital thermometer)

1.025sg

8 dKh

470ppm Ca2+

1320ppm Mg2+

<12ppm NO3

<.10ppm PO4

 

I know the lowered phosphates are the aluminum oxide's doing. My fungia responded well as it resumed its green color and not a poopy brown. It is interesting what Re-Fresh was able to do. I fed my animals normally. Sunday, tomorrow, will be day 4, and I am planning on a water change. I also need to glue down some corals again so might as well replaced with new water anyway. I'll opt to do a dose of Re-Fresh instead. With Waste-Away, a half dose was too much for my system as it yielded cloudy water, so per direction I'll be doing a quarter dose...or even less. We'll see how this goes.

 

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Diamonds x Pearls

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Looks like a new head on the bottom right, 4 o'clock position.

 

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Yikes, shaky hands. This guy doesn't eat Spectrum pellets, but it does smell it. Perhaps it was too small to perceive to eat. However, Spectrum does make flakes of the same formulation as the one I use (Pro-biotix) except it also includes Vitamin C. Probably a good switch since it doesn't hurt to have some more vitamins to supplement. I also think that this fish got used to flakes as it was the vehicle it was most accustomed to as it was the food source at my Petco store. I'm going to do a mysis shrimp feed tonight or tomorrow.

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Diamonds x Pearls

Full tank view.

 

IMG_20200927_183924.thumb.png.205e6bb02b60cc153367dbd2f819aa56.png

Side view

IMG_20200927_184506.thumb.png.af4fcc362c14dc8430afcca6fc5d9d71.png

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Diamonds x Pearls

I'm considering to resolve this coral with a Bayer dip. I tried covering up the base of the coral with glue gel. I'd hate to lose another Favia especially this one being so nice to look at.

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Diamonds x Pearls

I done me a dip the same night. I contemplated that time was of the essence since it has been a concern for few weeks now. Unfortunately for my Maryland reefers this Bayer dip is harder to get. It is also now sold as BioAdvanced, same active ingredients however.

 

IMG_20200928_215535.thumb.jpg.d261790e0773da34b461c3e1eed5730b.jpg

 

I bought this at the Lowe's in Washington, DC off New York and South Dakota Aves. It appears that this insecticide cannot be sold within state lines. However...you could just travel elsewhere to get it. So you can easily see multiple vessels holding liquids at some stages. I had the colony in the jar with iodine at a stronger concentration for about 3 minutes. Then I transferred it to the jar that had the Bayer solution (40mL/quart) for 10 minutes. 30 minute rinse in clean water, as 2 15 minute baths.

 

There isn't as much mucus of the past 48 hours, but there's some forming around the bottom again. I noticed that the strands come from the coral actually and not a secret pest. So now we can rule out pests for now. Because this is a coral origin, there must be a reason why my coral has been producing so much more mucus to the point that it's choking itself out. Mucus isn't always a bad thing. You can read Ryota Nakajima's (PhD) blog on this.

 

So I googled literally favia mucus. The third result was an NIH paper on how mucus can attract viruses. That gave me an idea. The 5th result is an Austrian website belonging to the University of Vienna. Mucus nets can also be the attempt of the coral protecting itself from bacterial infection. This is generally due to poor oxygenation (low flow) and sediment settling (I think detritus counts). It checks out. The colony is in a calmer part of the tank and it is one of the deader zones as the colony is in a bit of a live rock pocket I formed. There's very indirect flow and the powerhead doesn't really pull water but just pushes it. At that distance it's weak and it's quite far from the where the water moves fastest. I think we're due for another coral move and I know exactly how to do it.

 

Remember that non-compliant Sinularia that likes the contort downwards? And there's still some real estate shifting the big hand backwards.

IMG_20200930_102125.thumb.jpg.ebaca1bab7fdd0e032f04f6f98150b76.jpg

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Diamonds x Pearls

For the time being, the corals have been relocated again. I honestly didn't feel too happy about my coral placements as the devil's hand got real close to the Favia colony, so while I was bored at work I started shopping for better flow options. I searched on Amazon for another used Hydor Koralia Nano. This time we got a used 425 for about $20 in acceptable condition. I'm considering this pump to be on the left side blowing even more water at the montipora (and future SPS frags). The replaced 240 will come alongside with its sibling and help with more water movement. I'm planning to have this one placed more at mid-level. I also may have exhausted my PhosGuard quickly.

 

September 30

 

Temperature 80F

Salinity 1.025sg

Alkalinity 7-8 dKh

Calcium 450ppm

Magnesium 1290ppm

Nitrate 3ppm

Phosphate 0.1ppm

 

In other news, someone hit my car while parked in a lot at work and my entire front fender got ripped off. On top of needing an oil change, tire repair and rotation...this!?

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debbeach13

Sorry about the car. Was it a hit and run?

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Diamonds x Pearls
20 hours ago, debbeach13 said:

Sorry about the car. Was it a hit and run?

Fortunately no. The other person was good about staying around and called for the police. I'm turning my car into the body shop on Tuesday to get her fixed up.

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Diamonds x Pearls

October 5th:

 

I love autumn. I used to hate it because school started but now that I'm older and out of school I like it now, haha. The football and crisp cool air make autumn great. It also means my tank will not be over 80 degrees all day. I think next summer I'll get a chiller in case I get past 82F again.

 

Today, my Koralia 425 came in late. Amazon said there was a blemish on top of the unit, but it appears it's a miniscule nick. Not bad for $20. It is located on the left side pointed right at my forest fire digitata. The replaced powerhead is placed at mid-level pointing directly across creating more current around the old Favia placement. It is positioned just under the right channel. The right channel now is angled slightly up towards the filter in hopes of generating more current in the rear. I moved the Favia back where it was with the 240 within reach. I like to think having a powerhead 3ish inches away should help with the accumulation.

 

Replaced some of my clean up crew. I bought out the last remaining Caribbean nerites. I am hoping these are more hardier than Trochus snails.

 

6x Nerites

2x Astreas (Lithopoma americanus)

1x Cerith snail

 

Unfortunately the original acan got taken over by hair algae and cyanobacteria. I've put the Sinularia in that place and I finally got around putting the nephthea in the tank.

 

I got even worse news that I'm not allowed to certain corals for my Petco store because it's "outside of assortment." It's too bad because I had people getting interested in SPS corals and nearly all of the "hard corals" are in assortment codes I'm not allowed to carry anymore. In response, I've decided to pressure my leadership to give me a higher assortment level so I can access a better coral diversity.

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Testing early, since I want to track down how the water has been behaving. I went through the regimen and it kind of works? I get more cyano after doing the three doses of Waste-Away, but Re-Fresh removes it? Huh. I think I'm missing something here.

 

Anyway, I'm no longer interested in using it anymore so I think I'll just shelve it...forever. However the Re-Fresh interests me as it's not a smelly PNSB concoction. At least that's what it looks like. I also wonder if it's some type of rhodophyta. Does anyone have any dirt on this?

 

October 6th:

 

Temperature 78.6 F

Salinity 1.026 sg

Alkalinity 8 dKh

Calcium 450 ppm

Magnesium 1260 ppm

Phosphate 0.15 ppm

Nitrate <5 ppm

 

Otherwise things seem to be fine. I sometimes freak out at bubbles in my tank but that's from all the surface agitation. There's no golden brown strings, so it's not dinos.

 

Lately I've been thinking about getting one or two turbos at the end of the month. While I can't get the exact species, there are turbos worldwide including Japan. All the snails are pretty much representations or analogs of similar animals. Astreas are in for tecta type top snails. Ceriths in places for the spindly variety. I was looking at my coral book again and I noticed Diadema setosum as an animal seen in Japan. I know their tests are generally small, under 4 inches, but I do know their spines can get nearly a foot long. I stare at my tank at such a monstrosity, but it would knock back the hair algae considerably. There is the tuxedo urchin, but I know its propensity (and preference) for calcareous algae...so I'd lose quite a bit of coralline...I really like coralline. I'll keep thinking about it.

 

I should probably order a more effective method of filtering some of those phosphates, huh? Good thing Petco is starting to sell Chemi-pure Elite.

 

Late edit:

I realized that my Salifert kits were running low and my API KH/GH kit was at its end, so I went online to get some. Well, let's just say I walked out with way more than I expected. I ordered some Reef-Spec Carbon and Kolar Labs GFO to try out. I think I got enough for the year, but we shall see. You try to be prepared all the way through, but there will generally be something coming from left field. Life. I also went ahead and got Polyp Booster because I heard good things and I wanted to try it out. And a refracto calibration solution because good practices and $100 freebie gift bonus. I feel like I've been calibrated correctly the entire time...I hate to be wrong on this but it seems way too unlikely as the tank has been mostly successful.

 

I got a nonexistent TDS calibration solution for the TDS meter that I don't have for the nonexistent RODI unit I have at my Petco store. Nothing exists. Shhh, corporate, everything is okay. Just let me order my goddamn SPS corals for once.

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October 9th

 

Temperature 79.8 F

Salinity 1.023sg (calibrated with 35ppt solution)

Alkalinity 8 dKh

Calcium 440 ppm

Magnesium 1320 ppm

Nitrate 4 ppm

Phosphate <0.075 ppm

 

Wow, Chemi-pure Elite really works. And that's only within the day. I hope I didn't exhaust it all of the 25 gallon dose. Good thing my online order came through. I probably have a plenty of points on Saltwater Aquariums' website. My birthday is coming soon, so there will be more points to use. I wonder what I should get on discount? An ATO?

 

I learned I've been running my water on the slightly less saltier side of things. This is also compensating for the ATC part of the refractometer (there's a 45 second waiting period). With the calibration solution it appears that my device was closer to about between 38 and 39 ppt. This probably would explain that my salt mixing results (data all I did not post or reveal here) shot just under what was considered the right range for my dissolved salt ions (Ca, Mg, and CO3) and also didn't quite line up with what the packaging promises.

 

I also received that TDS solution but I forgot to bring home the meter with me to calibrate, so I'll work on that Monday when I return to work. My RODI unit at work now hangs at 5 tds, so it may actually be time to repack the resins. But to be totally sure I want to be correctly calibrated.

 

I'll be starting to play with Polyp Booster next week. The packaging advertises it also attracts fish. That might be a bad thing, haha.

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Today's water change day because my substrate looks gross lol. I didn't dose this morning or yesterday so elements will look deflated than usual. The tank is warm because wife made more banana bread.

 

October 12th

 

Temperature 81.1 F

Salinity 1.024sg

Alkalinity 7 dKh

Calcium 390 ppm

Magnesium 1140 ppm

Nitrate 5 ppm

Phosphate 0.075 ppm (for real!)

 

3 gallons out, 3 gallons in. 1mL of dosing chemicals each. 15mL of Eco-Balance.

 

I picked up a few empty snail shells along the way, so I suppose we can replenish with some more snails.

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October 15th

 

Temperature 79.7 F

Salinity 1.022 sg

Alkalinity ~8 dKh

Calcium 440 ppm

Magnesium 1170 ppm

Phosphate <0.10 ppm

Nitrate ~4 ppm

 

New snails! I got me a turbo, several nerites, and ceriths. I also refreshed my chemical filtration with a new media bag. It's quite nice that Red Sea gives you a free media bag when you buy their Reef Spec carbon. My initial treatment will be 2 tablespoons of GAC and GFO. From my understanding a tablespoon gives about 8 grams. They say use 1 gram per gallon.

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October 19th

 

Tank looks gross so we'll do a water change after this. No dosing occurred. 3.5 gal out, 3 gal in.

 

Temperature 76.7 F

Salinity 1.025 sg

Alkalinity 8 dKh

Calcium 420 ppm

Magnesium 1040 ppm

Nitrate 3 ppm

Phosphate 0.025 ppm

 

I acquired a free red tuxedo urchin (Mespilla cf globulus) from Nick today. Even if it doesn't mow algae a lot, I still like the look of it. I like the results from using the 2 tablespoons of GFO. I think that's the treatment we'll do for the long run. I didn't rinse any of my chemical media actually.

 

Edit: I've been also sitting on an inTank media basket for the filter, and sure enough I made an offer on eBay for a used one for $35. Score!

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October 23rd

 

This week has been a pain. Petco doing Petco things, so I've been feeling frustrated and not wanting to deal with people.

 

Temperature 81.1 F

Salinity 1.023 sg

Alkalinity 9 dKh

Calcium 400 ppm

Magnesium 1050 ppm

Nitrate >3 ppm

Phosphate <0.075 ppm

 

Looks like I'll need to tune my dosing again. Also my powder for the Nitrate test got wet so I think I need to toss my kit. Yikes. I'm actually starting to dislike the NYOS Phosphate test as the levels under 0.1ppm feel ambiguous based on the lighting of your room.

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Andy7

I've spent about an hour reading through this and it is fascinating to see your processes and success and failure ( I hate that word but yea) thank you for taking the time to do this.

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A.m.P
11 hours ago, Diamonds x Pearls said:

October 23rd

 

This week has been a pain. Petco doing Petco things, so I've been feeling frustrated and not wanting to deal with people.

 

Temperature 81.1 F

Salinity 1.023 sg

Alkalinity 9 dKh

Calcium 400 ppm

Magnesium 1050 ppm

Nitrate >3 ppm

Phosphate <0.075 ppm

 

Looks like I'll need to tune my dosing again. Also my powder for the Nitrate test got wet so I think I need to toss my kit. Yikes. I'm actually starting to dislike the NYOS Phosphate test as the levels under 0.1ppm feel ambiguous based on the lighting of your room.

Pretty much all P04 tests are that way, if it's not 0 and not 0.5 you're good imo, but I can walk around my livingroom and have 5 different readings.

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Tired

Honestly, phosphate readings don't need to be very accurate. As long as it's above 0.03, it's fine. Very high phosphate can potentially cause some algae issues, but is otherwise harmless, and sometimes doesn't even encourage algae at all. Depends on the tank. 

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11 hours ago, Andy7 said:

I've spent about an hour reading through this and it is fascinating to see your processes and success and failure ( I hate that word but yea) thank you for taking the time to do this.

You're welcome. This is the little corner of the internet that I obsess and mull over. I would say this tank is a mostly success, but I think year 1 in particular is still just getting a feel for it. I feel comfortable, but needs more practice. Feel free to click on that follow button way up there in the right corner.

 

7 hours ago, Amphrites said:

Pretty much all P04 tests are that way, if it's not 0 and not 0.5 you're good imo, but I can walk around my livingroom and have 5 different readings.

You're so right. My wife had to come in and determine the color for me. She's coming from an industrial design and art background, so her color sense is better than mine.

2 hours ago, Tired said:

Honestly, phosphate readings don't need to be very accurate. As long as it's above 0.03, it's fine. Very high phosphate can potentially cause some algae issues, but is otherwise harmless, and sometimes doesn't even encourage algae at all. Depends on the tank. 

That's good to know. I think my tank responded pretty poorly at above .1ppm. The hair algae took off the past month or two.

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Diamonds x Pearls

October 27th

 

Temperature 75.7F

Salinity 1.025sg

Alkalinity 9 dKh

Calcium 425ppm

Magnesium 1340ppm

Phosphate >0.05ppm

Nitrate <5ppm

 

Nothing beats good Chinese takeout and a World Series game. I made a nice shave of the GHA along the back side of the tank. However the rock work is tough to get to. I might need to call in the cavalry for this one. Which...is in a form of a long spined friend.

 

The broken frags of forest fire digitata from Tidal Gardens are starting encrust their rocks they were affixed to. It's a sign that I'm getting good at this. The Sakura zoas are attaching to the rock now. I went in gluing down a couple corals down since I've noticed that the turbos are pushing them aside. Right now all my candy cane corals are glued one way or another and the digitata is glued. I also glued our noncompliant Sinularia tonight. Next week when I do another water change I do another glue job for the rest of the corals. I think I'm satisfied with my coral placements for now.

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November 1st

 

Time has flown! Hope all my DST observing people had their 1 hour well used. I still woke up early anyway. Q.Q

 

Temperature 75.6 F

Salinity 1.023 sg

Alkalinity 8.6 dKh

Calcium 430 ppm

Magnesium 1470 ppm

Nitrate <5 ppm

Phosphate <0.05 ppm

 

I do have several updates. The German Blue digitata is finally on sale in Tidal Gardens so I'll be looking to acquire that later. I may have mentioned this but I do have two more Trochus snails and I collected some tiny ceriths as I've noticed some empty tiny shells from the previous water change. This week I might stall on changing water as I'm primarily focusing on manually removing the hair algae. It's slowly being beaten back in conjunction with the extra invertebrates I have been adding this month. As small as the Diadema is it's quite entertaining to see it crawl and take small patches away from the rock. However since the temperatures are cooling I am thinking that metabolism will be slower across the board making it more on my end to trim down the green hair. The cyano is starting become in full swing too, so I might consider another week long regimen of Chemi-clean.

 

Operationally I am planning to continue doing weekly water changes. However with a cleaner substrate and smaller nutrient values I will be doing less than the 20% I have been doing. Water changes will be easier now that I have an RODI unit hand me down. I repacked the DI resin and it's sitting at 1ppm. I need to make a quick run to Home Depot to find an adapter for shower head.

 

The API kits are done! I am now using Salifert for all 3 ionic compounds, so the Alkalinity values will be more precise.

 

If you're wondering how is my magnesium so high, it is because I have been dosing heavily the past week. I read an article written by Dr. Randy Holmes-Farley about how GFO can interact with carbonates. I did see this when dosing Fusion 2 that my liquid would precipitate out. I also knew that magnesium interacts with alkalinity and generally lower magnesium could cause carbonate precipitation. Time to get another bottle.

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Diamonds x Pearls
On 1/31/2020 at 6:54 PM, Diamonds x Pearls said:

[...]

 

COMING SOON!

 

Tidal Gardens:

  • German Blue M. digitata
  • Bali Green Slimer (Acropora yongei)

Staub Aqua Farm:

  • Seriatopora hystrix
  • Meteor Shower Cyphastrea

[...]

More cool things coming this way. Apparently my $10 coupon from Tidal Gardens isn't valid anymore, but that's okay. This is why you save your credit card reward points.

 

The next and hopefully last batch will be the Fungias I'd like from Pacific East Aquaculture. I may get an Utter Chaos zoa down the road.

 

Being a little lazy because my phone is charging in another room, but here are some photos taken a few days ago. I'm not going to do as many macro shots unless I notice obvious growth.

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The eggs didn't last long. They got eaten by my Diadema.

 

IMG_20201028_105654.thumb.jpg.3a66365c7293da3f7c968367b8a4bafb.jpg

 

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It's beginning to encrust the rock. Yay!

 

IMG_20201028_110009.thumb.jpg.34a3085d5005cec2d54287aa76499b21.jpg

IMG_20201028_105954.thumb.jpg.8de35fc4a8c8a24b6a2cce4c390221e2.jpg

I wonder why I didn't buy this sooner.

 

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Beginning to encroach the rock. I can't even take the frag plug off!

 

IMG_20201028_105816.thumb.jpg.ebfd0be050553d5f36ade336b19510cf.jpg

There's a tiny nub left center.

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Diamonds x Pearls

FTS October 27th, late at night...

IMG_20201028_110112.thumb.jpg.93f58bd6cfb8846b8d1ae8a0b764786c.jpg

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Diamonds x Pearls

A Chapter Closes

 

IMG_20201102_181229.thumb.jpg.d8d417a67f66aa7ec5469c44a37e1ef9.jpgNick and I at Petco were visited by one of the life support technicians contracted to work on our hardware. We discussed whether if it was worth our time to make RODI water for one of the two saltwater systems. We realized that probably wasn't unfortunately. I did like providing higher quality water than what was provided through our Culligan system, but since we were only supporting unfussy SPS and mostly leather corals, basic filtered water fit that bill some. I am expecting some rise algal growth. Really, we only had some tufts of green hair and the rest were coralline.

 

The work RODI unit was therefore orphaned. Nick took it in for the time being, but he had the Aquatic Life Twist-In. I decided to take it in and now it resides in my shower connected to the head.

 

Tools required is getting to your hardware store and getting some parts and finding a decent channellock plier to twist your shower head off. All US shower heads are 1/2". This is standard. aka NPT.

 

The set up was quite easy. I went to ACE Hardware and bought a metal 1/2" female x 3/4" male adapter. I wrapped all the threads in PTFE tape and I bought a couple 3/4" O-rings so I would minimize losing water. There's still a dribble when I throw the cold water to full through the shower, but hey I got my own RODI water at my command. The biggest bonus is that my apartment complex foots the water bill, an aquarist's dream.

 

The TDS-4 meter from HM Digital is reading a solid 1ppm 0 ppm with the new repacked DI resin on the second day of use. However my floss cartridge looks a little sandy so I think it is time to change it. At least I know what to get for my birthday, filter cartridges and more water totes.

 

This is right now. I'm filling up my gallon jug for top offs.

 

Now that I think of it. I'll probably go topless now since I have infinite water and the weather is cooling down so the evaporation may not be as hard.

 

Also I somewhat didn't like the InTank basket as it created a lot of backflow and that flow started to overflow over onto the top. If I do go topless I could go use that basket once more.

 

 

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First of many updates for today. I did a small water change, took out less than 2 gallons added more than 2 due to evaporation and some loss from coral acclimating process.

 

run joe run

 

November 4th

 

Temperature 75.6 F

Salinity 1.022 sg

Alkalinity 8.7 dKh

Calcium 420 ppm

Magnesium 1320 ppm

Phosphate <0.05 ppm

Nitrate 3 ppm

 

The corals arrived today. The meteor shower looks really bleached from shipping so we're in rescue mode. However the Tidal Gardens shipment is great.

 

If you're wondering how I do it. I've imported the Bayer dip method on top of the standard iodine bath.

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